The Polyphonic Bard: Music and Shakespeare in Our time

Presented by The Pocket Score Company and Canberra Academy of Dramatic Arts. The Street Theatre, Canberra. 30 November – 2 December, 2012

Hooked on Shakespeare? Part of The Street's Made in Canberra series which fosters emerging local talent, The Polyphonic Bard is an opportunity to listen to gorgeous late Medieval and early Renaissance music and get to see some upcoming young actors, and for the  students of the Canberra Academy of Dramatic Arts to perform Shakespearean scenes and sonnets a semi-professional, nurturing context.

Jesus Christ Superstar

By Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. Ashfield Musical Society. Concord RSL. Nov 2 – 11, 2012.

Did you first experience Jesus Christ Superstar in the 1970s as a rock concept album or a large-scale, spectacular rock opera?

Well, it also works as a relatively intimate piece (I’d only previously seen amateur productions in large venues).

Director Dennis Clements’ simple set, using gleaming tubular construction scaffolding, creates effective levels and entrances on a very tight stage, keeping props to a minimum.


Starring Todd McKenney. State Theatre, Sydney. November 23, 2012. Touring Nationally.

Todd McKenney’s motto is to be yourself as everyone else is taken. It’s the theme for a sparkling concert which allows him to recount his connection to Peter Allen and backstage stories of playing him in The Boy From Oz.

From seeing a Peter Allen concert as a child in Perth, to meeting the great man himself at a BBQ in Bondi, to playing the role in the World Premiere in 1998, the lives of the two men intertwine.

Falling Petals

By Ben Ellis. 5pounds of Repertory Theatre. Director: Rob Reid. Cast: Jason Cavanagh, Susannah Firth, Sebastian Gunner, Tom Molyneux and Freya Pragt. The Owl and the Pussycat – 34 Swan St Richmond. 27 November – 1 December, 2013.

This paradoxically ambiguous yet insightful play is simply presented, with the clarity and confidence one would expect from capable and discerning Director Rob Reid.   

The Unnamed

5pounds Repertory Theatre. Director: Danny Delahunty. Ensemble: Jason Cavanagh, Susannah Firth, Sebastian Gunner, Tom Molyneux and Freya Pragt. 20 -24 November, 2012

There is a great sense of community going into the same ‘shop front’ theatre space every week to see a new offering from a bunch of lively, interesting and courageous actors.  Maybe the work is not as polished as it would be if they had had even a few more days rehearsal time, let alone two or three more weeks.  But every production has had heaps to recommend it and has been a joy to watch.

Improbable Fiction

By Alan Ayckbourn. Canberra Repertory. Director: Corille Fraser. Theatre 3, Acton, Canberra, 23 November to 8 December 2012

This lighthearted romp will appeal to anybody who enjoys books, words, or a comic twist, and offers something very special to writers and budding writers.

The Importance of Being Earnest

By Oscar Wilde. Nash Theatre (Qld). 16 Nov – 1 Dec 2012

It’s not surprising The Importance of Being Earnest is doing the theatre rounds again. This is Wilde at the peak of his talent as a wordsmith. After a raft of great ‘issue’ plays came Importance, essentially about nothing except middle-class manners at the turn of the nineteenth century. The Nash company are doing a slick job of this entertaining satirical farce.

Thérèse Raquin

By Emile Zola, adapted by Helen Howard and Michael Futcher.. ZenZenZo. Old Museum Building, Brisbane. 22 Nov – 8 Dec 2012

It’s exciting when a new play comes on the scene. Community theatres seem to be swamped by shows newly released for amateur production, so I was looking forward to this professional company’s new translation of Thérèse Raquin.

NORMIE The Musical

Book and Original Lyrics by Graeme Johnstone. Original Music by Peter Sullivan. Directed by Simon Eales. OSMaD – Geoffrey McComas Theatre, Scotch College. Nov 23 - Dec 1, 2012.

Normie The Musical has three spectacular things going for it. Normie Rowe, who proves himself the consummate professional throughout in the role of Harold Holt; the fabulous songs of the sixties – if you ever doubted that pop music was better then, you have only to listen to this score to change your mind. The third thing is the amazing young Musical Director and Orchestrator David Wisken - a “wunderkind” of great proportions, who leads his orchestra through his own terrific orchestrations with great style and skill.

Under Milk Wood

By Dylan Thomas. Presented by Wild Voices and The Street Theatre. The Street Theatre, Childers Street Acton, Canberra. 14-17 November 2012

Wild Voices presents a lively reading of this set piece loved for its gorgeous scansion and humanity. Not minimalist so much as sound oriented, the main actors sat in a row on stage under simple warm spots, and the audience was told to close their eyes and let it all wash over them. Behind the row of seats, a few audience members , who had been invited to lie on a bed of several mattresses pushed together, would have had the full surround-sound experience. Rounding off the experience were perfectly timed sound effects provided by a teenaged crew under the direction of Vanessa Nimmo.

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